US Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt (left) is part of a Jewish prayer service in Bahrain, June 26, 2019. (Youtube) (Youtube)
Jason Greenblatt Bahrain synagogue.v2

Among those in attendance was Jason Greenblatt, a senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump.

By United With Israel Staff

At the beginning of a new day of proceedings at the U.S-led Bahrain conference on the economic future of the Middle East, Jewish attendees participated in a morning service. Wearing Jewish prayer shawls and tefillin (phylacteries) in an Arab state that does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, the men danced in a circle to the song, “Am Yisrael Chai” (the people of Israel live).

Among those in attendance at the prayer service was Jason Greenblatt, a senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump.

David Makovksy, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote on Facebook that there was no challenge gathering up a quorum of at least 10 men, known as a minyan, to conduct an official service.

“We had a minyan of over 15 people in Bahrain this morning in Old City of Manama,” said Makovsky.

During his stay in Bahrain, Makovksy met with the Gulf state’s former ambassador to the U.S Houda Nonoo, “who is also a member of the 34-member Jewish community of Bahrain,” he added.

Makovsky says that Ambassador Nonoo told him that this morning’s Jewish prayer service was “the first daily minyan she can recall since the synagogue was reopened by Bahraini authorities in 1995,” at a time when Israel was gaining access to the Arab world after granting the Palestinians self-rule in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip and signing a peace treaty with Jordan.

According to the ambassador, there were some 1,500 Jews in Bahrain before the modern Jewish State was established in 1948. Since then, she told Makovsky, there have been prayer services in private homes and there is occasional prayer at the synagogue when American Jewish sailors of the U.S. Fifth Fleet are in the area.

Times of Israel correspondent Raphael Ahren says that he organized Wednesday morning’s prayer service with the help of Ambassador Nonoo “and the approval of authorities in Manama.”

Ahren writes that “Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center led prayers. After the service, one of the worshipers gave a sermon about the weekly Torah reading.”